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Whether it’s down to the suspension settings, wider tracks, lower centre of gravity or, most likely, some combination of all three, one of the most gratifying things you will discover about the Volkswagen Scirocco is that despite its common platform and powertrain, it doesn’t feel like a Golf.

You sit there, guiding the car with your fingertips, appreciating the meaty feel of the steering and the chassis’ lovely throttle-sensitive balance.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
Despite its common platform and powertrain, it doesn’t feel like a Golf

The Scirocco’s mastery of some of our most difficult roads means that more everyday, long-distance surfaces present it with no trouble at all. The Scirocco is always comfortable: reasonably firm, but never harsh, even around town.

It would be easy to describe the Scirocco R as a sharper version of the 2.0 GT TSI. But such a description would be to undersell what VW has achieved with the R, because it is also more polished.  

In terms of sheer lateral grip and agility the regular Scirocco doesn’t exactly under-impress; what we wanted more of was involvement – a greater sense of interaction with the car, but without losing the suppleness and comfort that makes the Scirocco such a good long-distance proposition. 

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Although it isn’t, the R feels like a lighter car than the GT, and more analogue in the way it responds. Adaptive Chassis Control is standard on the R, meaning a choice of three modes (Comfort, Normal and Sport), each altering the dampers, steering map and throttle response. 

In truth Normal is perfectly fine for most conditions and, unusually for such a system, the Sport setting is not so extreme that it can’t be used on the road. Obviously there is some degradation in ride quality, but not to the point that it is uncomfortable. And yet we didn’t linger in Sport, partly because Normal offers more than enough control and precision, but also because Sport beefs up the steering weight to beyond the point that feels natural.

Fortunately, the diesel models don't suffer for having a heavier engine in the nose. The composure and balance of the petrol models remain. 

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